The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is nearly 3 million dollars richer after 2 generous donations. One, from an anonymous donor was 1.46 million dollars, the biggest donation from an individual the zoo has ever received. The other is a gift the El Pomar Foundation which matched it dollar for dollar. The money will help fund the new Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit which is basically a tribute to Colorado's animal heritage. Mountain lions, moose, bald eagles-- all animals which for a time were close to or actually extinct in Colorado will be featured at the exhibit.
"I am beyond belief excited," said Zoo President and CEO Bob Chastain.
Chastain says he was shocked when the anonymous donor gave the nearly 1.5 million dollar donation. Equally exciting but perhaps not so shocking-- the matching grant from the El Pomar Foundation, since founder Spencer Penrose founded the zoo in the 1920's.
"It (the zoo) does have a great benefit to the community for people of all ages," said El Pomar Foundation Vice President Kae Rader.
Zoo visitors like Sandy Duckworth agree.
"I think it's just wonderful for people to use their money to benefit the whole community."
Set to break ground early next year, Rocky Mountain Wild follows the African Rift Valley as the latest exhibit in the zoo's master plan. It will sit in the southeast corner of the zoo and be accessible to everyone. Perhaps the exhibit's most anticipated animals will be a pair of moose. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo will join only 7 other zoos in the United States to feature moose. Rocky Mountain Wild is set to open in the spring of 2008.